ISSUE 196
December 2nd, 2022
GET FESTIVE WITH IT!
"Nothing can dim the light that shines from within"

– Maya Angelou
HAPPY FRIDAY!

It's getting cold in the Midwest, and the temptation is to be inside building a fire. But there are so many reasons to enjoy the outdoors, to bundle up in a warm winter coat, hat, and gloves, and get outside.

MY CHRISTMAS TREE IN MICHIGAN
Growing up, our tradition was to have a beautiful indoor Christmas tree, and I continued that with my kids. But later, as they got older, my Christmases changed. Eventually, Roy suggested I have a tree outside, so I started a new tradition, by using either an existing tree or bringing a traditional tree into the backyard and filling it with all red lights—great big ones—set to go on at dusk. I leave it up through December and through January—in fact red lights are a great way to celebrate the holidays through Valentine’s Day! It simply makes me happy to look outside and see it aglow.
I LOVE AN OUTDOOR TREE

Christmas can be a time when nature becomes part of the cheerful spirit. Lights, ribbons, and trees are everywhere. Walking in the cold with a hot cocoa or a mulled wine gts me in the cheerful spirit of the season. Each city has its own traditions, and Chicagoans love our outdoor Christkindlmarkets. I especially enjoy Lincoln Park Zoo’s traditional ZooLights. It’s a beautiful festival full of twinkling lights, tunnels, and decorated trees. The zoo at night is spectacular. I went with my friend Amy, and we enjoyed a beautiful, festive, winter walk.

AMY AND I AT ZOOLIGHTS

On Sunday night, I’m returning to the Chicago Botanic Garden in the suburbs to experience Lightscape, their “after-dark, illuminated trail” which includes a “Winter Cathedral and a reimagined fire garden.”

WINTER CATHEDRAL

You do need to plan ahead and get tickets, but it’s a fun way to celebrate the season and get in a great walk at the same time. Let’s bundle up, seize the moments this season has to offer, and enjoy nature this winter!

GET OUTSIDE AND ENJOY THE HOLIDAY LIGHTS
STEPHANIE AND HER CHILDREN

As the mother of a disabled child, I’m aware of how we talk about each other. I champion both my disabled son Ben and my neurotypical daughter Rose. Yesterday at the Apple Store I overheard, “Want to see something ‘retarded’? iPhone 13 versus iPhone 14, it’s literally the same thing.” I froze in the moment.

MAKE THE PLEDGE

Afterwards, I posted about my experience. I understand the “R word” was once used in a different connotation. It was socially acceptable, but now it’s a shameful and vulgar word. It’s making someone or something less than. Let’s do better. Don’t say the R word, ever. If you feel so inclined, join me @CleanerStephanie and make the pledge to never say the “R word”.

Stephanie Cahill
@CleanerStephanie

AMAZING HOLIDAY GIFT

My favorite gift idea for a teacher’s gift or a hostess gift is my No Crumbs Left cookbook. I’m proud to say it was a Wall Street Journal bestseller, but beyond that, it’s truly an expression of heart, soul, and family, filled with wonderful recipes, tips, stories, and inspiration.

BUY THE COOKBOOK

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